“The dirty little secret of genomics is that we still know next to nothing about how a genome translates into the particularities of a living and breathing individual. If”
“I knew that no one had spent as much time and effort on this sort of work as we had, but we eventually settled on the laboratory of Mark Stoneking, a population geneticist at Penn State University.”
“In the 50,000 years that followed—a time four to eight times shorter than the entire length of time the Neanderthals existed—the replacement crowd not only settled on almost every habitable speck of land on the planet, they developed technology that allowed them to go to the moon and beyond.”
“Science is far from the objective and impartial search for incontrovertible truths that nonscientists might imagine. It is, in fact, a social endeavor where dominating personalities and disciples of often defunct yet influential scholars determine what is “common knowledge.”
“compulsion to direct the attention of others is one of the first cognitive traits that emerge during childhood development that is truly unique to humans.”
“According to the fossil record, Neanderthals appeared between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago and existed until about 30,000 years ago. Throughout their entire existence their technology did not change much.”
“The dirty little secret of genomics is that we still know next to nothing about how a genome translates into the particularities of a living and breathing individual.”
“Es fácil imaginar que la enorme capacidad humana para las actividades sociales, para manipular a los demás, para la política, y para la acción concertada del tipo que da como resultado grandes y complejas sociedades, surge de esta habilidad para ponerse en el lugar del otro y manipular la atención y el interés de esa otra persona.”
“Así que está claro que hay un sustrato biológico necesario para adquirir con plenitud la cultura humana.”
“Sin embargo, los simios, aunque se integren en la sociedad humana a muy temprana edad y con mucha intensidad, y aunque se les haya sometido a procesos de enseñanza, no desarrollan más que habilidades culturales rudimentarias. Solo un entrenamiento social no es suficiente. Es necesaria una predisposición genética para adquirir la cultura humana”
“Según los registros fósiles, los neandertales aparecieron entre hace 300.000 y 400.000 años y existieron hasta hace unos 30.000 años.”
“If I sequenced my own genome and showed it to a geneticist, she would be able to say approximately where on the planet I or my ancestors came from by matching variants in my genome with the geographic patterns of variants across the globe. She would not, however, be able to tell whether I was smart or dumb, tall or short, or almost anything else that matters with respect to how I function as a human being. Indeed, despite the fact that most efforts to understand the genome have sprung from efforts to combat disease, for the vast majority of diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, our current understanding allows us only to assign vague probabilities to the likelihood that an individual will develop them.”
“Matthias and I met up again in the lab after Christmas vacations and sat down to write our paper. One major question was where to send it. Nature, the British journal, and its American counterpart Science, enjoy the most prestige and visibility in the scientific community and in the general media, and either would have been an obvious choice. But they both impose strict length limits on manuscripts, and I wanted to explain all the details of what we had done—not only to convince the world that we had the real thing but also to promote our painstaking methods of extracting and analyzing ancient DNA. In addition, I had become disenchanted with both journals because of their tendency to publish flashy ancient DNA results that did not meet the scientific criteria our group considered necessary. They often seemed more interested in publishing papers that would give them coverage in the New York Times and other major media outlets than in making sure the results were sound and likely to hold up.”
“Do you always focus on what you're giving up, rather than what you'll be gaining? Some things are worth pursuit regardless of the cost.”
“Are we not all creatures of chance?”
“I suppose the truth is simply that it was possible for benefits like these to accrue only to a Negro lucky enough to remain in the poor but relatively benign atmosphere of Virginia. For here in this worn-out country with its decrepit little farms there was still an ebb and flow of human sympathy—no matter how strained and imperfect—between slave and master, even an understanding (if sometimes prickly) intimacy; and in this climate a black man had not yet become the cipher he would become in the steaming fastnesses of the far South but could get off in the woods by himself or with a friend, scratch his balls and relax and roast a stolen chicken over an open fire and brood upon women and the joys of the belly or the possibility of getting hold of a jug of brandy, or pleasure himself with thoughts of any of the countless tolerable features of human existence.”
“Hatred is so much closer to love than indifference.”
“You really are one of a kind. I mean, it's not every day my girlfriend offers to kill me.”
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